The reply as one survey entry



say, my runners’ group wants to log their calories and race track times in one topic over time, in a structure form everytime they post a reply;

in general, how difficult would it be, to write a plugin that allows for:

  • topic as survey over time
  • replies per topic as time-dependent survey entries
  • strict set of fields in addition to the reply box

Thanks in advance.

(Jeff Atwood) #2

Did you want to put this in #marketplace ?


Hi Jeff, this is not a gig. You want to give an estimate of roughly saying:

  • a) it’s a heavy tweak for DIY vs
  • b) it’s mild tweak for DIY.

This is at a conceptual level, right now, where Discourse is competing with other means to achieve the same goals. Just like golf: Long-term lowest cost wins.

(Mittineague) #6

Like a lot of questions, the answer is “It depends”.

How well do you know Ruby, Ember and the Discourse Core?

(Jeff Atwood) #7


I don’t know what the benchmarks are for Ruby skills.

Let’s put it that way, I can replicate light science math in Ruby on my own, like game theory and the PageRank, and I can do the necessary JSON, YAML and SQL queries, and I can do test-driven development through heavy unit testing before the code was written. I’m told most developers in the world can’t do test-driven development nor the PageRank let alone game theory, leaving them a tick mark on database magic. So, it’s 3 in 4, so far. I think I can handle the Ruby parts. However, the Ember thing might be an obstacle for several days or weeks.

My request merely comprises a tweak to the Reply interface, a couple of database tables, and the respective queries and changes to Post template. To me, at least, it doesn’t justify #marketplace whatsoever. Conceptually, it’s just a blog.

(Mittineague) #9

I get the impression you would be able to work up a plugin by yourself.

If I’m understanding, you essentially want a topic’s posts to serve as input fields. Seems an odd thing to me, but I think it could be done. eg.

Members could post something like

Today I ran #mileage:2.5 miles in just under #time:35 minutes

The plugin could grab the values from the mileage and time “tags” and the datetime from the post. Then with an added graphic script the results could be displayed.

Personally, I think a better approach would be to use Discourse topics for discussion and have the data inputs in a form. If discussion was desired a member could make a “here are my stats” post.


I concur with your form of forms.

At the moment, I’m discounting the whole idea of a discussion board adapted as a survey tool, because of the low chance of being adopted by actual people.

I have quantitative evidence that my core audience will not adopt a discussion board into their day-to-day business. As such, I’m not following through with this venue of implementation and keep cost and effort to nil.

That’s, of course, bad news to Jeff and all developers. I hope other communities are more responsive to discussion boards. Mine is not.

The probability that my core audience would post is

  • 60.0% on the first day of sign up and
  • 10.0% after 90 days after sign up and
  • 0.04% after 365 days.

At first, I thought that the survey task itself was too hard, but I’ve seen a 2nd iteration elsewhere with similar patterns. Eventually I was told by Reuters that newspapers across the globe are closing their BBS in favor other social media channels. When I read that and IMDB have closed down theirs roughly two years ago, it’s clear that a BBS won’t be adopted . . .

Sorry guys. The market is ruthless.